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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wengay Newton endorses Kathleen Ford in mayoral race



ST. PETERSBURG- City Council member Wengay Newton endorsed Kathleen Ford today, becoming the first elected official to support her campaign.

"A woman will be a change of pace," he said. "I look at (Tampa) Mayor Pam Iorio and she is doing a wonderful job, so I endorse Kathleen Ford 2.0."

Newton, the only black council member, said it is unfair that some people paint Ford, who is white, as a racist for questioning Goliath Davis, who is black, when he was police chief. Newton says he questions police chief Chuck Harmon, who is white, all the time, and no one calls him a racist.

"There are a lot of people who get uneasy when you ask questions, I am experiencing that right now, but that's our job," he said.

He said he could not support Foster because Foster said he had complete confidence in Harmon despite some growing concern about the city's crime rate.

Ford also said she would fund the city's summer youth employment program, but Foster seemed less committed, said Newton, who rallied unsuccessfully to get the council to fund the program with local dollars.

"Foster says, 'you sweat the small stuff,' but if you are out working a job, you can't do burglaries and robberies at the same time," he said.

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:12pm]


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